Her guidance counselor, Chad Horton, calls her an “outstanding student leader and role model.”
He’s not the only one who thinks so.
The national Posse Foundation awarded Simmons a four-year scholarship to Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., for her abilities to guide and direct others.
Likely, the foundation learned about the nonprofit she founded, Empowering Young Women of Color.
“I started the organization because, unfortunately, our young girl women have been seemingly encouraged into conforming to the false interpretation of beauty in the media,” Simmons said. “Our mission statement asserts, ‘Empowering YWOC provides the service of reinforcing the significance of integrity, respect, self-esteem and honesty to oneself and others.’”
Positive self-images, teamwork and truth are vital components in the senior’s passion for theater, which most recently culminated in the starring role in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “Rappaccini’s Daughter.”
Simmons played Beatrice, a mysterious beauty whose deadly secret devastates the two men in her life.
“I wanted to gain the freedom of expressing myself through the experiences of another character,” Simmons said about the art form’s attraction. “In theater, you can live a thousand different lives in one lifetime.”
It also develops a skill set she can carry into other parts of her life.
“Being a theater-scholar allow me to conjure up a positive attitude and a well-rounded personality,” Simmons said.
She plans to continue acting at Brandeis, where she has a bright future, Horton said, employing her talents plus time management and study skills honed in physics class.
“She truly is a shining star and it has been my pleasure to work with her,” he said. “[Her] academic background, extra-curricular activities and commitment to community service have created a disciplined, focused, talented and mature young lady.”